ISLAMABAD, Apr 17 (APP):National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products initiated national deliberations to forge synergies between provinces and federation for laying the foundation of a truly inclusive and vibrant mechanism for agricultural revitalization. National Speaker Asad Qaiser expressed sadness over the heavy losses inflicted upon farmers by the recent spell of rain and hailstorm and assured that he would personally request the Prime Minister to compensate the farmers for the losses incurred.
The Speaker also vowed to uplift the small farmers, protect their interest and end their exploitation.
He expressed these views in the meeting of the special committee on agricultural products held under his chairmanship at Parliament House here.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Provincial agriculture ministers and agriculture departments.
In a comprehensive meeting of the committee, the officials from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research briefed the committee about the recently announced National Agriculture Emergency Program.
The officials from provincial agriculture departments briefed the committee about the agriculture policies and institutional frameworks for agriculture development in each province.
The NA Speaker emphatically stressed on a policy shift to make agriculture more competitive, profitable and sustainable.
The Speaker underlined the need to reform the agriculture sector by investing in infrastructure, research, value chains, capacity building and enhanced access to finances and new markets.
The committee appreciated the agricultural entrepreneurship and farmers insurance schemes and urged the officials to scale up such initiatives at the national level.
The members raised questions about soil health, minimum support price for major crops, insurance schemes, agriculture zoning, access to finances and information, drought resistant crops, climate adaptations and crop diversification.
The officials from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research highlighted that National Agriculture Emergency Program based on comprehensive national consultation will deliver a breakthrough in agriculture and turn around the direction of the agriculture. It was stated that Pakistan’s agriculture growth was stagnated as a result of decline in spending on research and development, and investment. The Committee was informed that the after the 18th amendment, the budget allocation for agriculture has witnessed a 60% decline. It was highlighted that for the first time ever the federal government has chipped-in on a mega scale to uplift agriculture sector. It is pertinent to mention that the National Agriculture Emergency Program is Rs. 287 billion program that aims to conserve and increase productivity of water, increase in yield of major crops, harness untapped potential of fisheries, livestock initiatives for small and medium farmers and transform agriculture produce markets.
In a separate meeting with the Vice chancellors of different agriculture universities Asad Qaiser formed a sub committee to forge vibrant linkages between academia and special committee on agriculture.
The sub-committee will not only leverage research support for farmers’ responsive policies and enhanced production but also devise a framework for sustained linkages with the academia.
The sub-committee will be headed by MNA Syed Fakhar Imam and include Chairman Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan, Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce Ms. Shandana Gulzar Khan, and Muhammad Ihsan Ullah Tiwana.